Multiple Sclerosis Society of Canada

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Multiple Sclerosis and COVID-19: Understanding Risks During Pregnancy

  • Canadian Study

SUMMARY: Data collected over the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic found that women with multiple sclerosis (MS) who were pregnant or those in the postpartum period shortly after birth did not experience worse COVID-19-related outcomes compared to women with MS who were not pregnant or in the postpartum period.

During the pandemic, a North American registry called COViMS (COVID-19 Infections in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Diseases) was established to understand the risks and outcomes following COVID-19 infection in people with MS and other demyelinating diseases. Using this registry, Dr. Amber Salter (University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center) and team sought to understand the risks and outcomes of COVID-19 infection in women with MS who were pregnant or in the postpartum period.

The research team identified 27 women who were pregnant and nine who were six weeks postpartum (women within 6 weeks of giving birth) between April 2020 and March 2022 from 26 different medical centres across Canada and the United States. Most women had relapsing-remitting MS and at least 64% of the women had COVID-19 in 2020 prior to vaccine availability. Pregnant/postpartum women with MS were compared to non-pregnant/postpartum women with MS from the COViMS registry to determine differences in COVID-19-related outcomes following infection.

The study found that women with MS who were pregnant/postpartum did not have a significantly higher risk of worse outcomes from COVID-19 compared to those who were not pregnant/postpartum. The majority of pregnant/postpartum women with MS were not hospitalized, and no deaths were reported. Two of the pregnant women with MS received monoclonal antibodies against SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, but were not hospitalized.

This study provides the largest sample size to-date on women with MS and COVID-19 who were pregnant or in the postpartum period. The results of this study offer some assurance to women with MS who are currently pregnant or thinking about becoming pregnant within the context of COVID-19. Women are encouraged to discuss concerns related to pregnancy/postpartum and COVID-19 with their healthcare providers.

To learn more about the COViMS registry and the potential risks and outcomes associated with COVID-19 infection in people living with MS, click here.

References:

Article published in Multiple Sclerosis and Related Disorders - COVID-19 in the pregnant or postpartum MS patient: Symptoms and outcomes. Link to article – here.

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